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Hi all!

Not all of you know me, and some may be agnostic with regard to my existence, alizziest even, but I do exist and I’m so sorry I’ve been an absentee landlord for so long!  Life got impossibly difficult, and I’ve been barely keeping my head above water for quite a while!

However, light is definitely visible at the end of the tunnel, and I have good (belated) news which his that Vincent Torley and DNA_jock have kindly agreed to join the admin team at TSZ.  Thanks so much, Vincent and DNA_jock!

And I do hope to join them as a no-longer-sleeping partner before the year is out at least!  Semi-retirement from my full-time job should commence on 1st November, at which point I hope to get my life back!

Why does the soul need the brain?

Why does the soul need the brain seems like a logical question especially in the context of the belief held by the leading ID proponent of the Discovery Institute Michael Egnor. He has written extensively on the theme of the immaterial soul that, in his view, is an independent entity, separate of the human body. What Dr. Egnor consistently fails to acknowledge is the obvious connection or interdependence between a functioning brain and self-awareness or consciousness. I wrote about it here.

If certain parts of human brain are damaged or disabled, just like in case of general anesthesia, the human brain loses the sense of consciousness or self-awareness either permanently or temporarily. The immaterial soul fails to make up for the damaged or disabled brain…

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Can the future affect the past?

According to Quantum Mechanics future can affect the past.
There are many names for this “QM weirdness”; retro-causality, time flying backwards and so on…

Experiment Shows Future Events Affect The Past

There are just as many interpretations of this supposed weirdness that QM presents scientists with…Some say that we don’t know enough about TIME…Others say there is no such thing as time; at least on quantum level…

Though initially opposed or uncomfortable to with the problems QM presented him with, Einstein, just before he died, made the following statement about TIME itself.

Einstein once wrote, in a letter to comfort the widow of a recently deceased friend, “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

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The Death Evolution

Death has been on everyone’s mind at one time or another… It’s unavoidable…
Some are fascinated by death; mainly  the possibility of better afterlife. Some, or the great majority of people, are frightened by it. It seems the unknown of after-death is one of the main factors causing many to tremble…

However, it turns out that Craig Venter, the pioneer of  the human genome project and the supposed creator of artificial life, turned his attention and efforts toward decoding death… here

It seems obvious Venter believes that death is be caused by genetics; some genetic mutations that could be fixed and we could live forever, otherwise he wouldn’t be digging in the genome looking to fix the death code…

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The Simulation Hypothesis

This video outlines and explores the philosophical and scientific history of the idealism vs materialism, and shows how the scientific evidence much better fits idealism – meaning, that everything we experience as physical reality is the result of the processing of information via a nonphysical mind (outside of space-time). I think the big problem with this perspective is that it not only challenges various forms of materialism; it also challenges many religious perspectives – at least in terms of what the fundamental nature of our existence is.

IMO, one of the interesting implications (not expressed in the video) is that if what we actually experience is indeed generated by mental processing, feedback loops could be a normal, even essential aspect of our experience. IOW, if you believe in and process information from a particular ideological/personal perspective (we all do), it may be that the experiential reality you encounter is actually being physically (not just psychologically) sustained and supported as a result of having those views and beliefs.

One wonders what the limitations would be if our “reality” experience is determined by mental processing of information (both conscious and subconscious).

What is the purpose of life?

The question of the purpose of life has preoccupied philosophers, poets, thinkers and the like, for thousands of years. Clearly, it’s a tricky one. It is surprising that pharmaceutical companies have not addressed this issue… yet… 🙂

From the materialistic/atheistic/evolutionary perspective, the answer to this question is clear: Since the universe and life are the products of purposeless, random processes, life itself has no purpose or meaning either…
While materialists could argue that it is still possible to find some kind of meaning in life, in the end there doesn’t seem to be an ultimate purpose in life without some kind of hope that theistic supporters look forward to…

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Suicide evolution and determinism bamboozle

Many recent, and not so recent, suicides of celebrities, stirred up some questions whether humanity is actually progressing, or evolving, especially when the noticeable increase of mental health issues is taken into consideration, such as depression or anxiety disorders that often lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide…

My question is: How does suicide fit into the evolutionary theory?

Also:

How does suicide fit into the deterministic notion popular among many evolutionists and materialists who claim that humans have no free will?

Here is how one article Why Doesn’t Evolution Discourage Suicide? elaborated on the issue of suicide in light of evolution:

“Humans, like all animals, are designed to pass along genes to the next generation. But ending your own life means, in stark evolutionary terms, cutting off, or harming your future reproductive success. When young people kill themselves, their genes are eliminated from the gene pool; when adults kill themselves they can no longer care for dependent children; when elderly people kill themselves, they, too, abdicate the role of caring parent for the next generations.”

So, suicide, even thoughts of suicide, makes no sense, at least from an evolutionary point of view…

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The Heart is Not a Machine, it is a Work of Art

In the following video Alexander Tsiaras calls the development of the human heart magnificent oragami as the heart forms with cells developing  at a rate of one million per second.

Conception to birth — visualized

It is generally believed that the heart acts as a pressure pump forcing an inert fluid through the lungs and through the bodily tissues and organs. There is evidence that this is not the case and that it is more accurate to view the heart as an organ which regulates the dynamic activity of the blood. Continue reading

Hate the sin, love the sinner

Notice. Masterpiece Cookies sells baked goods, not the services of specific artists. There is no guarantee that any particular artist will be inspired to produce a masterpiece that meets your needs and desires. Masterpiece Cookies sometimes enters into contracts with other businesses to fulfill special orders.

Masterpiece Cookies does not mention that it takes no profit on orders that its owner, Jack Philips, finds morally objectionable. In other words, Jack walks the extra mile, and stores up riches in heaven. He does not regard marginalization of sinners by society as an effective means of winning them over to Jesus.

Does quantum entanglement violate relativity?

Ever since the implications of quantum entanglement between particles became unavoidable for physicists and cosmologists, the doubt of the accuracy or completeness of Einstein’s general and special theory of relativity became real… Einstein himself called quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance” because the possibility of faster than speed of light transfer of information between two entangled particles (no matter what distance between them) would violate relativity and the fundamentals of one of the most successful theories in science…

Recently, however, several experiments have confirmed that entanglement is not only real but it seems to violate relativity.

The results of the first experiment have provided the speed of entanglement, which was measured to be at least 10.000 times faster than the speed of light. here

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Climate change killed the aliens and will kill us too: a case study in GIGO

Ever wondered why we haven’t met any aliens yet? Live Science Senior Editor Brandon Specktor thinks he knows the answer: technologically induced climate change (caused by excessive energy use) may have killed them all off, and it’ll kill us off too, if we don’t get our act together real fast and switch to sustainable sources of energy. In an eye-catching article titled, Climate Change Killed the Aliens, and It Will Probably Kill Us Too, New Simulation Suggests (Live Science, June 6, 2018), Specktor breathlessly reports on the findings of a new study by Adam Frank et al., titled, The Anthropocene Generalized: Evolution of Exo-Civilizations and Their Planetary Feedback (Astrobiology, Vol. 18. No. 5, published online May 1, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2017.1671). Dr. Adam Frank is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester, New York.

Spektor’s summary of the study’s findings is sobering:

The results, as you might expect, were generally pretty grim. Of four common “trajectories” for energy-intense civilizations, three ended in apocalypse. The fourth scenario — a path that involved converting the whole alien society to sustainable sources of energy — worked only when civilizations recognized the damage they were doing to the planet, and acted in the right away.

“The last scenario is the most frightening,” [leading study author Adam] Frank said. “Even if you did the right thing, if you waited too long, you could still have your population collapse.”

But a model is only as good as the foundation upon which it is built. And it turns out that Frank’s model is built on a foundation of sand.
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What Would Indicate the Supernatural

The term “supernatural” comes up on this and other boards and in similar discussion forums from time to time and I have come to the conclusion that there can be no such thing. Or, at the very least, if there really is something that could be accurately labeled as supernatural, such would have to be completely beyond understanding by anything (like we humans) that is not supernatural.

As an example, I’ve been studying quantum entanglement a bit. Pretty weird phenomenon from the perspective of those of us in a non-quantum, macro dimension. Very difficult to conceptualize how certain particle states could possibly be correlated, but correlated they are. So is this correlation “supernatural”? I certainly would not define it that way and I know of no physicists who would either.

The point is, even if one really believes that something like entanglement – a repeatably verifiable and investigatible phenomenon – has a supernatural basis, what could possibly be understood about that supernatural component? How could it be verified at all and what could investigating it add to any kind of understanding about…oh…anything?

So for those of you who do believe there is something that can be classified as supernatural, I’m just curious as to what supernatural means to you and what type of event or phenomenon would indicate to you that something is supernatural.

 

2. Earth is the Center of the Universe? Full Movie

This is a follow up to Earth is the Center of the Universe? OP with the link to the full documentary entitled The Principle. It is really worth to watch it in its entirety just to get the sense of how cosmologist, like Lawrence Krauss, and many other scientists deliberately resist the data  (verified by 3 different probes) that Axis of Evil are pointing to the special location of the Earth in the Universe…

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Does gpuccio’s argument that 500 bits of Functional Information implies Design work?

On Uncommon Descent, poster gpuccio has been discussing “functional information”. Most of gpuccio’s argument is a conventional “islands of function” argument. Not being very knowledgeable about biochemistry, I’ll happily leave that argument to others.

But I have been intrigued by gpuccio’s use of Functional Information, in particular gpuccio’s assertion that if we observe 500 bits of it, that this is a reliable indicator of Design, as here, about at the 11th sentence of point (a):

… the idea is that if we observe any object that exhibits complex functional information (for example, more than 500 bits of functional information ) for an explicitly defined function (whatever it is) we can safely infer design.

I wonder how this general method works. As far as I can see, it doesn’t work. There would be seem to be three possible ways of arguing for it, and in the end; two don’t work and one is just plain silly. Which of these is the basis for gpuccio’s statement? Let’s investigate …

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Earth is the Center of the Universe?

While researching the evidence for Cosmic Consciousness, the implications of the collapse of wave function, QM and so on, I came across some interesting evidence pointing to the fact that the Earth not only resides in the special place of the universe, it is the center of the universe…The evidence comes from the so-called “Axis of Evil – the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle, which “appears to give the plane of the Solar System and hence the location of Earth a greater significance than might be expected by chance.”- Wikipedia

 

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The Yanny/Laurel phenomenon

Another case of perceptual ambiguity gone viral, along the lines of the famous blue dress/gold dress phenomenon.

I emphatically hear “Yanny”, but roughly half of the population hears “Laurel”.

The New York Times explains:

The Times traced the clip back to Roland Szabo, an 18-year-old high school student in Lawrenceville, Ga., who posts as RolandCamry on Reddit. He said Wednesday that he was working on a school project and recorded the voice from a vocabulary website playing through the speakers on his computer. People in the room disagreed about what they were hearing. Some other students created an Instagram poll, which was then shared widely on Reddit, Twitter and other sites.

One detail may frustrate some and vindicate others: He found the original clip on the vocabulary.com page for “laurel,” the word for a wreath worn on the head, “usually a symbol of victory.”

The Times also provides a tool that allows you to modify the frequency response, transforming “Yanny” into “Laurel” and back again:

We Made a Tool to Help You Hear Both Laurel and Yanny

A Natural After-Life

As people like to post crackpot theories that are congenial to them, I thought I’d plop this down here.

I was thinking about how dreams can seem (from the point of view of the dreamer) to go on for very long periods of time, even if the dream, from the point of view of an external observer, might only last a couple of minutes. And I noted that it might be the case that as we lose executive function in geezerhood and become more and more a batch of autonomous, unconscious functions, our dream experiences get phenomenologically longer and longer. [If I knew something more about relativity theory maybe I could analogize this with the difference between falling into a black hole from the vantage of an outside observer and the vantage of the falling person, but alas….] Continue reading

If God expects us to pray for others, does that make Him a monster?

Scrolling through some recent comments, my attention was caught by this one, posted by keiths:

Besides not panning out scientifically, intercessory prayer doesn’t even make theological sense.

An old OP on the topic:

The (il)logic of intercessory prayer

So I checked out keiths’s OP, which describes the hypothetical case of a woman named Mary, suffering from a terminal illness, whose friends decide to pray for her. Keiths cuts to the chase:
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